By Dr. Shafiul Amin, Former MYN President & ELM volunteer

Ramadan is just around the corner and to maximise the khayr (goodness) this month brings, its good to hit the ground running. Here are nine tips by Dr. Shafiul Amin that will help us really bring the best out of this coming Ramadan.

1.  Impossible is nothing.

Life experience has taught me many times, that with a strong incentive, that which I had previously thought impossible for myself was in fact only completely doable. I am sure you all can relate to this. This Ramadan, push yourselves to go the extra mile in worship and good deeds. If you plan to complete two Khatms (completions of the Qur’an), you can push yourself to complete three or four this Ramadan. Don't feel that achieving the ranks of Allah's close allies and friends is impossible for you.
 
2.  Vision

Use this month to reassess your objectives and direction in life, in all aspects. All of the projects you are involved in - from seeking knowledge, your chosen career path etc. - reassess everything. Reassess your vision and reflect on your personal position and contribution to the Ummah. Are you on track? Has your thinking changed through the year?  Where do you lack the relevant knowledge to achieve your goal? Where have you failed? At which points have your weaknesses held you back? The more you contemplate and think, and the more you seek guidance, you will find things becoming much clearer for you after Ramadan.

3.  Guidance

As young people we feel very confident in our own opinions; by reading through a few articles, or listening to lectures, and reading quotes from Scholars, we may feel we have the sufficient tools necessary to come to a truly informed conclusion. It’s important in Ramadan that we get rid of any kibr (arrogance), and rely on Allah to guide us, with complete humility and submission. This humility is very important and is a pillar of your relationship with Allah; so ask Allah to guide you to that which is the truth and most pleasing to Him, and to also guide you to those actions and deeds which will draw you closer to Allah. Be ready to submit to that completely and unconditionally.

4.  Bad Habits

Fasting is not restricted to food and drink. It also extends to any bad habits we may have; such as joking too much, talking too much, gossiping, lying, swearing etc. It’s very important to have conversations with yourself to identify your bad habits, or perhaps speak to a close friend/family member and ask them to identify what your bad habits are so you can abstain and fast from these bad deeds. Try to fast from your sins. As an individual and collective, our sins are an important factor which could hold us back from achieving true greatness.
  
5.  “My Opinion”

We may find ourselves engaging in endless debates on peripheral issues that we are not qualified to pass a judgement on. We must have the humility to know that not every opinion needs to be shared or verbalised. Fasting should help you control your tongue. As the Prophet (SAW) mentioned, the two organs that will lead the majority of the people to the hell fire, are the tongue and the private parts.

For us as a jamaa'ah (community) to get closer to guidance and tawfeeq (fortune)from Allah, we must avoid falling into saying things that may be displeasing to Allah and His Messenger. Take a step back, let's have sabr (patience), and humble ourselves; study fiqh, ‘aqeedah, the Qur'an, the SunnahHadeeth, etc. Be patient and learn these subjects, focus on the usul (fundamentals) of the deen, our provisions, the main questions in life and eventually the furu' (branches) will also become clear.

6.  Renewal

In the last 10 days of Ramadan start to have deeper conversations with yourself. Who are you truly? What is your commitment to Allah in reality? How much are you in reality willing to give up? How much in reality are you willing to give to achieve those great rewards for yourself and the Ummah? Every person should renew their commitment and should know where he stands with respect to the strength of his Islam and Iman.

7.  Exclusive Du’a

Make dua by name for the people you love and care about most, for your family, for your community leaders, for your brothers and sisters, those from whom you've benefited - mention them by name in your du’as.

Make special du’a for your Islamic work - be it an Islamic Society, charity organisation, or for any other organisational work, that seeks to further the values of Islam.

8.  Dhikr
In all moments of your day, be in the constant remembrance of Allah. The greatest form of dhikr is to engage with the Qur’an.

9. Develop a close relationship with Allah 

Speak to Allah SWT. Confide in Him your plans, your deepest secrets, your worries and apprehensions. Tell Him what you are doing for Him Alone. Thank Him for the triumphs in your life and you achievements. Spend you whole day and night with Allah in that respect. Build your Love for Him, your Trust in Him, and your strong expectation that He will undoubtedly cover you with His Eternal Mercy.

May Allah SWT bless all of you my brothers, and bless us with eternal companionship in the highest of the gardens. Ameen.